The Religion News Service (RNS) is an independent, nonprofit, and award-winning source of global news on religion, spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a staff of professional journalists. Because of its objective reporting and insightful commentary, it is relied upon by secular and faith-based news organizations around the world. That’s one reason we looked to RNS to see what’s being said about Pope Francis after his first ten years as Pope.
Thomas Reese’s “The Legacy of a Decade of Pope Francis” is a rounded, hopeful, and comprehensive overview of the personality and ministry of Pope Francis. Reese supports this liberal pope “who would change the style of being pope, attack clericalism, empower the laity, open the church to conversation and debate and change the pastoral and public priorities of the church . . . Although he did not change doctrine, he was revolutionary in every other way.”
Pope Francis is critical of cardinals and bishops who act like princes and do not make service a top priority. He is an advocate of the spiritual practices of compassion and kindness. Along with his emphasis on simplicity comes his vision of the church as a field hospital for the wounded, not a country club for the rich.
For Francis the church of the future must speak the language of the people instead of “being a prisoner of its own rigid formulas . . . a relic of the past, unfit for new questions.” After hurrahing the Pope’s critique of unregulated capitalism, globalism, war, the mistreatment of the environment, and the marginalization of migrants, Reese expressses his disappointment over Pope Francis’s not ordaining women as priests.
Photo Credit: Pope Francis blessing the crowd in St. Peter's Square, October 2013. Photo by Birute, iStock.